“Only in America can someone start with nothing and achieve the American Dream. That’s the greatness of this country.” – Rafael Cruz
Friends, lots of things have been going on since the close of the session. Please let me try to get you up to date…at least a little bit! I have been asked to serve on a number of out of session committees and task forces. This is another way I can have influence to serve you better, so I am glad to serve. I have one elected position, and four other assignments that I will use to have your voice heard in Boise and around the state. Most legislators don’t get asked to serve on any interim committees, so it is indeed a privilege for me and my constituents in District 7 to have this level of influence.
JFAC Meets to Review
First, and this is left over from my legislative time, but the Joint Finance Appropriation Committee (JFAC) met to review updated financial information about Idaho. It looks like the budget revenue will come in slightly below projections, but still well above break even compared to spending. It could be as close to $100 million on the right side of the ledger. Our state is on solid financial footing with the sixth best cash reserve position in the country. Those of us on JFAC will continue to make solid, conservative recommendations to the House and the Senate.
I was elected by the Senate Republican Caucus to represent the Senate on the Legislative Council. We met in Boise to review business of the legislature during the off season. We discussed the budget situation, technologic and infrastructure stabilization, office of performance evaluation, and administrative rules. These discussions are a bit detailed, so rather than discuss them here, give me a call if you are interested in the fine points!
Idaho Broad Band Task Force
The Idaho Broad Band Task Force is a group on which I was asked to serve. One of the things holding back rural Idaho is the lack of internet service. Many of the towns in Idaho have excellent service, but outside those, very poor service is the norm. I believe a solution to this problem is important as getting the railroad to the west, or electricity to rural Idaho. The lack of internet service is keeping our kids from competing, and our businesses from prospering. To say nothing to the informing of our citizens. We have to change the current situation for rural Idaho.
The Broadband committee has met once so far. We have all the major players in the state there, at the table. I am committed to helping rural Idaho have a strong voice in solving this problem.
Rural and Underserved Schools Task Force
I was asked to serve on the Rural and Underserved Schools Task Force. In fact, I was asked to co-chair this group. Rural Idaho is being left behind in the education of our young people. This matters!!! The levy system of partially financing schools is working well in urban Idaho. It is really struggling in rural Idaho. However, there are rural schools that are being successful. We need to steal their ideas with pride! We cannot have rural kinds get an inferior education, then try compete for limited educational or job seats of their choosing after high school.
The Federalism Committee came out of a bill passed in the Idaho Legislature. I was appointed to serve on this group, primarily because of the large amount of public land in our Legislative District 7. The committee has not met, as it is not constituted until July 1, 2019. More to come later.
Anadromes Fish Task Force
The Anadromes Fish Task Force is a group in which, I was asked to serve. Ultimately, I declined this opportunity. I simply can’t live in Boise. This legislature thing can be a full-time job, but I already have a business to run. Dan Johnson will replace me and will do a good job of representing us.
Capital for a Day! with Governor Little and his department directors will be in Grangeville on July 30.
I will be there and I hope you plan to join us. I am expecting more details from the Governor later this week or next. I will keep you post.
Those are quick highlights of statewide activities I have been working on. Additionally, I have been working on the Elk City Water and Sewer problems with the Department of Environmental Quality. I have met with the Director and Assistant Director, as well as other staff members, to try a very light handed way to solve these problems in a tiny town.
More to come on this…!
I always enjoy hearing from you. If you have specific interest on bills, please let me know and I will run them down for you. Send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
All the best,